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Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis, affecting approximately 80% of people who are the age above 55 years or older. 60% of them have asymptomatic osteoarthritis. 


It is a form of degenerative joint disease characterised by the degradation and eventual loss of joint cartilage. Cartilage is a robust, flexible tissue that cushions bone ends and allows them to glide easily against one another. When cartilage degrades, bones can rub against each other, resulting in discomfort, stiffness, and edema.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, although the hands, hips, knees, and spine are the most usually affected. It is a chronic illness that often develops gradually over time and is more common in elderly persons. Repetitive stress injuries, as well as a past joint injury or surgery, might potentially contribute to it.

Complications might include discomfort or stiffness in the afflicted joint, particularly after periods of inactivity or overuse. When moved, the joint may also feel painful to the touch and create a cracking or popping sound. The joint may become swollen or heated to the touch in rare circumstances.

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, therapies are available to help manage symptoms and restore joint function. Pain medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and exercise are examples of these. Joint replacement surgery may be required in some circumstances to reduce pain and restore mobility.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

The intensity and location of the afflicted joint influence the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Among the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain in the affected joint: Osteoarthritis can induce pain in the affected joint. The pain can be aching, severe, or stabbing, and it can be exacerbated by exercise or periods of inactivity.
  • Stiffness: The joint may feel stiff, especially in the morning or after rest.
  • Reduced range of motion: Osteoarthritis can stiffen the joint, limiting its range of motion.
  • Tenderness: When touched, the affected joint may feel tender.
  • Swelling: The joint may become swollen or inflamed in rare circumstances.
  • Crunching or popping sounds: When moved, the afflicted joint may generate a crunching or popping sound.
  • Changes in joint appearance: Osteoarthritis can produce changes in joint appearance, such as the formation of bone spurs or swelling of soft tissues.
  • Bone spurs: the extra bits of bones can form around the affected joints.

It is crucial to note that osteoarthritis symptoms can develop slowly over time and may be modest at first. Yet, as the disease advances, symptoms can worsen and have a negative influence on a person’s quality of life. If you are having any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor to discover the cause and develop a suitable treatment plan.

Causes and risk factors 

The cartilages that cushion the ends of the joints are reported to burst or degenerate as the causes of osteoarthritis. If the cartilage is destroyed, the bones will rub against one other.

The following are some of the most common risk factors for osteoarthritis:

  1. Ageing: Osteoarthritis is more common in elderly persons, as joint wear and tear over time can contribute to cartilage degradation.
  2. Genetics: Some people may have a genetic susceptibility to osteoarthritis because specific genes can impact cartilage production and maintenance.
  3. Joint traumas: such as fractures or ligament rips, might increase the chance of developing osteoarthritis in the affected joint.
  4. Repetitive stress: Repetitive stress injuries, such as those produced by particular vocations or sports, can lead to osteoarthritis development.
  5. Obesity: Excess weight can put extra strain on the joints, contributing to the development of osteoarthritis.
  6. Joint deformities: Individuals who have joint abnormalities, such as those caused by rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
  7. Additional medical conditions: Diabetes, gout, and metabolic problems, among others, can raise the chance of developing osteoarthritis.

While these risk factors can raise a person’s chances of acquiring osteoarthritis, it is important to note that not everyone with these risk factors will acquire the condition. Moreover, some people may acquire osteoarthritis without any known risk factors. If you are concerned about your risk of getting osteoarthritis, speak with your doctor about how you can lower your risk and manage your joint health.

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis 

Medical history

A medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing are commonly used to diagnose osteoarthritis. Your doctor may inquire about your symptoms, medical history, and any risk factors for osteoarthritis you may have. They may also do a physical assessment on the affected joint to search for symptoms of inflammation, pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion.

Test machines

In addition to a medical history and physical exam, your doctor may order imaging studies to help confirm an osteoarthritis diagnosis. X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans are examples of these tests. These imaging tests can assist your doctor in determining the extent of joint injury as well as the severity of your symptoms.

Fluid test

Your doctor may also perform a joint fluid investigation in some circumstances. A sample of fluid from the afflicted joint is taken and examined under a microscope for symptoms of inflammation or infection.

It is crucial to remember that no single test can clearly identify osteoarthritis, and a diagnosis is frequently made based on a combination of factors such as symptoms, physical examination, and imaging tests.

Treatment of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is often treated with a combination of self-care, medicines, and physical therapy. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, improve joint function, and prevent additional joint deterioration. Some of the most prevalent osteoarthritis treatment options include:

Self-care: Weight control, regular exercise, rest, and the use of heat or cold therapy to alleviate pain and inflammation are examples of self-care techniques.

Medications: To assist manage pain and inflammation, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may be prescribed. Prescription drugs, such as corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections, may be advised in some circumstances to alleviate joint inflammation or promote joint lubrication.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you create an activity regimen to enhance joint function and relieve discomfort. They may also recommend assistive equipment to support the afflicted joint, such as braces or splints.

Surgery: In severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgery to repair or replace damaged joints may be recommended. Joint arthroscopy, joint replacement, and joint fusion are all common surgical techniques for the said condition.

It is important to note that there is no cure for osteoarthritis, and treatment is focused on managing symptoms and preventing further joint damage. 
If you are suffering with the aforementioned condition and want to get treated from the best expert available, then subscribe to MediPocket world and get connected with a doctor from the United States.


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